Torah Pearls #44 – Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

Torah-Pearls-44-Deuteronomy-01-DevarimIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22), we begin by noting how the Greek mistranslation of the title of Devarim as “Deuteronomy” muddles its meaning. With the book’s title settled, a puzzle appears in the very first verse: How could Moses have spoken from the “east side” of the Jordan? And the hits just keep on coming as they expound on giants and ghosts; on which is worse—a thief in the night or a highway robber; on the one thing that could not be found in all of Canaan, and exactly whose idea was this anyway? Gordon closes with an example from the Portion of the über-diligence of the scribes who preserved these wonders for us.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Transcript

You are listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Jono: G’day to Julie from Michigan, Frank, from Berlin. And Frank left a comment, he said, “The best Pearls from the Torah Portion I have ever heard so far. Keep it up brothers, stay sharp and set apart!” Thank you, Frank from Berlin. Sandi wrote and said, “Toda Rabah!! I am enjoying these so much, listening to you three bouncing off each other. There is sooo much to learn. I’m packing to move so I have the Internet sound on as high as I can to listen to The Torah Pearls. I have to stop occasionally to laugh with you guys… Thanks, for expounding on the Word. Blessings, Sandi in Florida.” Thank you, Sandi.

Keith: There you go, Sandi.

Jono: Mark said, “My week is never complete without these Pearls.” And Dot left a comment saying, “Torah Pearls is a fantastic program, gentlemen, thank you all so much! In my fantasy world, where everything goes my way, the program would be expanded to 2 hours and the second hour would address questions that listeners have sent in ahead of time.” Thank you, Dot. If we did have the time, we would go back. I know there’s a lot of questions that get asked in the comments, we don’t always even get time to read them, so don’t be disappointed if they don’t get answered straight away, and certainly, if you see a question in the comments section, dear listeners, that you think you might like to answer, please go ahead and offer your opinion, that would be greatly appreciated. It is time for Pearls from the Torah portion with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon. G’day, gentlemen.

Nehemia: G’day, Jono, it’s great to be here from Jerusalem, Israel. What I want to do isn’t exactly a shout-out, it’s sort of a shout-out to Perry Gerhart in Pennsylvania. I want to offer him condolences on the passing of his wife, Elizabeth, who was just an amazing lady, and Perry is an amazing guy. She definitely went too soon. My condolences, and we say in Hebrew “ani mishtatef be tza’archem,” I participate in your sorrow. Keep your strength up, Perry, and keep plugging along.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Perry, keep blowing that awesome shofar that you blow. It’s a blessing.

Nehemia: And playing the drums.

Keith: And I actually want to also say to everyone, I’m actually shifted my spots, I’m no longer in North Carolina, I’m now in New York City.

Nehemia: What?

Jono: Keith Johnson in New York City.

Nehemia: New York City!

Keith: My son lives here in New York; we’re actually spending some extended time here with both of my sons. One of them is doing an internship at the American Museum of Natural History, and the other one works down in Manhattan.

Jono: Wow.

Keith: So, my wife and I are here, we’re actually set up, so if you hear some sirens and some honking of horns, just know you’re hearing the background of New York City. Live.

Jono: There it is. Well, thank you for joining us from New York City, Keith Johnson.

Keith: Live.

Jono: Today we are in Devarim.

Nehemia: Live from New York, it’s Keith Johnson! I don’t know what that’s in reference to.

Jono: Deuteronomy 1, verse 1, to 3 verse 22, and it begins like this, “These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel on this side of the Jordan in the wilderness, in the plain opposite Suph...”

Nehemia: Whoa.

Jono: Yes?

Nehemia: We’ve got to talk about verse 1. You kind of stepped on a landmine and it exploded. What your translation did is, they hid it, and your leg got blown off and you didn’t even know it.

Jono: Well, hang on, wait a minute, no, no, there’s an asterisk, now that you mention it. There is an asterisk.

Nehemia: Oh, in verse one?

Jono: In verse one. Well, there are two asterisks.

Nehemia: I’m concentrating on the phrase, “on this side of the Jordan,” which is not what it says and that’s… they’re trying to do us a favor by keeping the truth from us.

Jono: All right, fill us in.

Nehemia: What do you have in your translation, Keith?

Keith: “These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the desert east of the Jordan.”

Nehemia: Oh! What it literally says in Hebrew is, “in Transjordan,” and you could also translate that, “on the other side of the Jordan.” Now, that’s a strange thing for them to be saying if they’re actually in Transjordan. Let’s just paint the picture for everybody. We’ve got the land of Canaan, which is between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and that today is roughly covered by the State of Israel. And east of the Jordan River, we’ve got Transjordan or “Ever HaYarden,” the other side of the Jordan.

They’re sitting on the other side of the Jordan and this kind of raises a problem because Moses is sitting across the Jordan and he says… imagine, Moses or Joshua is writing these words, “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan.” Well, wait a minute, Moses died before they crossed the Jordan, so why would he call it the other side? Whatever side he is on, that’s the side of the Jordan for him, which is why your translation kind of like covered that up. Does that make any sense, what I’m saying? So why would Moses call it Transjordan, “across the Jordan,” if he is across the Jordan? Remember, Moses died before ever crossing the Jordan River. So, under what circumstances would he ever refer to the eastern side of the Jordan River as “Transjordan”?

I think this is actually something that we kind of like... I don’t know if we mentioned this in earlier passages, but this isn’t the first time this has come up. The first time it actually came up... so this is actually a passage that we had a very long time ago in Numbers [actually Genesis] Chapter 50, Verse 10. It’s talking about the mourning over Jacob, and it says, “And they came to Goren ha-Atad,” the threshing floor of Atad, “which is in Transjordan, and they cried for him a great cry,” or mourn for him a great mourning very much, etc.

So, this is something that’s taking place in “Ever HaYarden,” in Transjordan. The question is, so if Moses is writing this in the plains of Moab, is he talking about the western side of the Jordan? Or is Transjordan what we call today “Transjordan”? Which is, again, from a western perspective, from those who are on the western side of the Jordan, we call it “Transjordan.” It raises the question, is this term “Transjordan” something that - I’m going to say something controversial - that maybe Joshua wrote after he already crossed over? He’s copying over the Torah, and it says, “And they came to Goren ha-Atad,” and then he says, “Oh, yeah, that’s in Transjordan.” I mean, that’s a possibility.

That’s actually what some of the Jewish Bible commentators suggested; for example, Ibn Ezra… and I actually talk about this in my book, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence: The Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed. Which, by the time this program is broadcast, it is my hope will already be available. It’ll definitely, I hope, be in print. No, it’ll definitely be in print by the time of this broadcast.

Jono: Did you hear that, Keith?

Keith: Jono, I’m not buying it.

Jono: There was a “definitely” there. There was a “definitely.”

Keith: Because here’s why I’m not buying it...

Nehemia: No! People all over the world are probably reading it already.

Keith: No, no. What he said, Jono, was, “it is my hope.”

Jono: “It is my hope.”

Keith: I don’t want to hear anything about hope. Let’s move on.

Nehemia: What people don’t realize, maybe, is that we’re prerecording this, and I’m fairly certain that the book will be in print; it will be shipped all over.

Keith: There it is, again. And “hope,” “fairly certain.” I’m not buying it, Jono.

Nehemia: You can get it from my new website, NehemiasWall.com, that’s NehemiasWall.com. N-E-H-E-M-I-A, there’s no ‘H’ at the end of Nehemia, NehemiasWall.com.

Jono: There it is.

Nehemia: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence: The Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed

Jono: Brilliant.

Keith: Nice.

Jono: If it’s out, Keith, if it’s there, we’re pretty sure it is…

Nehemia: It’ll be there.

Jono: NehemiasWall.com. Now, listen, I’m just looking at the study notes of my New King James Study Bible, this is what it says, “This side of the Jordan is literally ‘across the Jordan’. This is the land east of the Jordan,” it says, “or across from it, the perspective of the land of Canaan.” Okay, that’s what I’ve got in the notes.

Nehemia: So, you understand why they whitewashed it - because they wanted to say… wait, I can hear Keith; can you hear Keith?

Jono: Keith?

Keith: Can you hear me?

Jono: Go on, Keith.

Nehemia: You’ve just got to be more aggressive.

Jono: You’re in New York, it’s so far away.

Nehemia: You gotta talk like a New Yorker.

Keith: Listen, I want to do something, if it’s okay, folks. I know we’re getting started here in the book of Deuteronomy, and I just have to say, the book of Deuteronomy, from my tradition, is a bit confusing. And I know that we stepped right in, and Nehemia’s over there thinking as he’s opening up his Hebrew Bible and he sees “Devarim,” and Jono’s over there in Australia and probably, who knows what they call Deuteronomy, probably something like “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.”

Nehemia: Oi, oi, oi!

Keith: But I’m here and I’m looking at Deuteronomy and I’m saying, this confuses me greatly. Having looked at the Hebrew Bible and having looked at my English Bible, I could see why there could be some confusion. Let me tell you why I think there’s some confusion. Most people will say that Deuteronomy is... well, if you even look at the actual word, the idea is a second law, and that’s the kind of idea… that Deuteronomy is the second law.

The problem with that is that when we say, “second law,” it seems like that means it’s another law, that it’s something that it’s not the same law; it’s a second law.

Nehemia: We’ve got to back up here - second law?

Keith: Let me talk about it from the tradition that we hear. For example, really, I’ll give you an example - take a look real quick at Deuteronomy 17:18, I know we’re going to get to it, and I think it’s a Hebrew term. It’s actually the first time we use the word “Mishnah,” “Mishnah HaTorah hazot,” a copy of this Torah.

If you go to Deuteronomy 17:18, and what we kind of end up doing is we have then a Greek mistranslation. If we were to open up our Greek... let’s do this, let’s have Nehemia the computer guy do something for us, Jono, is that okay? We’re going to uncover this guy. All right, Nehemia, I want you to open up the Septuagint on Deuteronomy 17:18, and I want you to open up your Hebrew Bible, 17:18, and then open up a good old fashion King James Version 17:18; all three panels right in front of the two eyes…

Nehemia: One version at a time. Let me read you the Greek.

Keith: What are you talking about? You can’t…?

Nehemia: First, let’s start with the Hebrew, because you mispronounced the Hebrew. This might sound like I’m nitpicking, but this is what I do. You said this is the first time we have the word, “Mishnah.” Now, those who have studied Judaism know that there’s a body of literature, actually a 63 volume compendium called, “The Mishnah,” which was written by early rabbis. It was completed in the year 210 by Rabbi Judah the Prince, and that’s ‘Mishnah’ in Hebrew.

Keith: Mishneh.

Nehemia: No, that’s Mishnah.

Keith: What are you talking about, Mishnah? I’m talking about Mishneh.

Nehemia: You said, ‘this is the first time we have the word Mishnah’, and this is Mishneh, not Mishnah. This is Mishneh, which means double, copy, and Mishnah is that body of writing of the rabbis. So, this is “Mishneh HaTorah,” it says, the copy of the Torah.

Keith: “Mishneh HaTorah hazot.”

Nehemia: Okay. And the Greek translates it as “Deuteronómion.” It says, “To du Deuteronómion tueto es Biblion,” which means the copy of the book, or this book. Or, excuse me, the second law of this book. Basically, if you took the word “Deuteronómion” by itself, it means the second law, because “nómos” is, of course, law, Torah, and “Deutero” is second, so “the second Torah.” So, they translated it as the second Torah, and then they named the book of Devarim, which is the book we’re beginning now. They call it in Greek, the Book of Deuteronomy, the second Torah. So, this is a complete misunderstanding of the verse.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: So, let’s read that verse in context; can we do that? Verse 18 of Chapter 17.

Keith: That’s exactly what my point was.

Nehemia: So, speaking about the King...

Keith: Yes, go ahead.

Nehemia: …one of the future kings, of course, will be the Messiah, the Messiach, and it says, “And it shall come to pass when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself Mishneh HaTorah hazot,” a copy of this Torah, “upon a book before the Levitical priests.”

The question then becomes, what is he copying? Is he copying only the book of Deuteronomy? By naming the book “Deuteronomy,” they basically change the meaning of this verse. If I were just to read this verse, “the copy of this Torah,” I’d say, of course it means from Genesis through Deuteronomy. But because they translated the phrase “copy of the Torah” as “he shall write for himself this Deuteronomy,” and then they...

Keith: I’m not going to let you read the verse.

Nehemia: What?

Keith: I’m not going to do this anymore for the rest of the Torah portion.

Nehemia: No, then they called the book Deuteronomy. So it makes sense that he will copy Deuteronomy and not the entire Torah.

Keith: No, no, that’s it. Ladies and gentlemen, from now till the end of the book of Deuteronomy, I will never say to Nehemia again, “Nehemia read this verse and these different translations.” Look, this was the whole point.

Nehemia: Did I steal your thing?

Keith: No, no. No, but the point is, where it gets confusing for people like the Methodists is, we see this phrase and we see this thought of Deuteronomy. Now, the first time I ever saw the book of Deuteronomy in English, I didn’t even ask the question, “What did it mean?” The first time I actually asked the question “What did it mean?” was when I actually saw it in Hebrew, because when I saw it in Hebrew I thought, “So what’s the connection between...”

It’s like, for example, Bereshit, in the beginning, and Genesis. We can say, well, Genesis means, you know, there’s the Genesis of a certain thing, the Genesis of this thought. So you kind of see this connection. Well, when you get to Deuteronomy, two completely different meanings. You’ve got the Devarim, or the words, or whatever we want to do for translation of that in Hebrew, but in English we’ve got a big problem, and I want everyone to slow down and take a look at this big problem because the big problem is, and this is why as we’re reading Deuteronomy, is where it gets confusing.

If I take this, Jono, from the perspective - now I’m going to use you, Jono, and let Nehemia sit on the sideline - if I take this perspective that there’s a second law or a second reading or a second writing of the law based on the thought of Deuteronomy according to the English translation, I then will approach this book differently. Why will I approach this book differently? And Nehemia, you can also chime in here. Jono, why would I approach this book differently if I take it from an English translation?

Jono: Because, and I do recall this in Bible college, Keith…

Keith: Yes.

Jono: …it was referred to as the second reading of the law, and you can be forgiven for thinking, well, this is a refined, finished version of the Torah, perhaps, and thereby not take into account everything that came before it, or not giving the weight that it should have, everything that came before it.

Keith: I was actually playing around with Nehemia about not letting him read the versions. The reason that I get excited about this is because, when we did read through the Torah, one of the things that I did as a person from my background, Jono, was to sit down and open my Hebrew Bible and read through the Torah in Hebrew, and then also have my English Bible there, and there are a number of things - he calls them landmines - these things that sort of come up that make me say, “Well, now, wait a minute, how amazing it is just by translation, how I can approach the book differently.”

For example, and we’re going to see this over and over again, Moses will be talking about it, and we did it throughout the Torah Pearls, we’ll be reading in Numbers and someone will say, “Ah, isn’t that also in Deuteronomy?” And Nehemia will say, “Ah, isn’t that in Deuteronomy?” And then he’ll wax on, on Deuteronomy. Why? Because you can’t get the whole picture. And, man, I’m telling you, this happens over and over again in this book. Over and over again, Moses will say something that he didn’t say earlier. So, from my perspective, from my tradition…

Nehemia: He’ll say it differently.

Keith: Yeah, he’ll say it differently. Sometimes he’ll say it so differently or add something else into it that, if you didn’t hear him in Deuteronomy, you would have lost the complete meaning in Numbers. But, when they put the word “Deuteronomy” as this second law or this second book, then we can start having the scholars come along and say, “Well, you see, this wasn’t written from Moses. This clearly was written post Judah’s return, or post Israel.”

I’m telling you, the scholars have a field day, Jono, a field day with Deuteronomy, because they’ll say, “You see? Look, he didn’t say this in Numbers, he said it here. Look, this can’t be Moses.” And so I wanted to bring that up just so people know that when we’re going through this, there are two things I wanted to say - I wanted to say that first of all, and the second thing I want to say is this: This has got to be some of the best preaching that you ever hear in the Bible. Moses is on and behind his pulpit and he is preaching three great sermons. I mean the sermons that he preaches, I see Moses with sweat coming down his brow, he’s sweating through his shirt, his tallit. He’s there, and I mean he’s preaching.

So, I’m going to just say right now to our listening audience, I’m in New York City, of course. I’d like to apologize ahead of time to both Nehemia and to Jono, I have been really playing by the rules for Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. Or in Hebrew what would those words be, Nehemia, those first four? Come on, give us the first four of the Hebrew words.

Jono: Keith, have you noticed that you’ve been able to speak freely for the last few seconds and not be interrupted?

Keith: Oh, is he gone?

Jono: He’s fallen off the call.

Keith: Folks, listen, this is huge. Nehemia’s internet is not working, and I’m talking. You must not edit this part out because what I’m going to say, Jono, is this; while we wait to get Nehemia back, ladies and gentlemen, while he’s not listening, I’m going to take the approach like Moses.

Nehemia: What?

Jono: He’s just came back.

Keith: No, he’s back, ladies and gentlemen. He’s back.

Nehemia: What’s going on? What did I miss?

Keith: This is hilarious. No, you can’t make this up, Jono. So, here’s the point, folks - we are going to approach this just like Moses. He is preaching; this is some of the best preaching in the Bible.

Nehemia: Come on with that. He’s preaching!

Keith: Let’s keep on plugging, let’s just keep on moving. We know what Deuteronomy is in English, we know what Deuteronomy is in “Devarim,” the words. And who are the words? These are Moses’s words to the people encouraging them and spurring them on. So everybody buckle your seatbelts, we’re in the book of Devarim, or according to the Methodists, this second law.

Jono: There it is.

Nehemia: Can I point a couple things out here?

Keith: Let’s go.

Nehemia: No, I’ve got to point a couple things out.

Jono: Nehemia?

Nehemia: Well, first of all, because how do you we know that “Mishneh Torah” doesn’t mean a second Torah? Maybe the Greek is right.

The way we know the Greek is wrong is go to Joshua 8:32. It says there, “And he wrote there...” and I’m going to read the King James version, not your Christian translation. “And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.” This is talking about Joshua writing. He was supposed to write ink on stones, set this up on mount Ebal, and have a copy of the Torah written up there on these stones for all the public to see. It calls it, “a copy of the Torah of Moses,” uses the same exact phrase as in Deuteronomy 18 about what the King is supposed to write.

No one is going to claim here… or at least the translations don’t make it sound like he’s dealing with just the book of Deuteronomy, and why would it be? Although, if you look in the Greek, to be fair, they have again “Deuteronómion.” But obviously, in the context, he’s writing Genesis through Deuteronomy, not just Deuteronomy. So, I think that confirms that Deuteronomy is a misnomer, and the book of Devarim, which is just the second word in the book, is “ela HaDevarim,” these are the words…

Jono: Words.

Nehemia: So “Devarim” means “words.” Actually, in Hebrew, a lot of times they’ll call it “ela HaDevarim,” not just “Devarim.” They’ll use both words. When you read about the copy of the Torah that the King is supposed to write, and that Joshua wrote, that’s the entire Torah.

And you know what? At this juncture… we’ve come really far! Can we acknowledge that? We’re in Deuteronomy, people.

Jono: Oh, my goodness. We’re in Deuteronomy.

Nehemia: Can you believe we’re in Deuteronomy? We started in Genesis and we’ve come so far. I want to acknowledge something from Keith, coming from his Methodist background, and Jono, whatever he is. I don’t know, really, nobody can figure him out.

Keith: That’s a good thing.

Nehemia: I want to acknowledge that we’ve gone so far, look how far we’ve come. I feel like we’re really doing something here that’s unique. What we’re doing that’s unique is we’re reading Scripture and we’re saying, “What does it really say in its context?”

Every once in a while, Keith will get out of control and he’ll bring us the application in the New Testament and how it applies to Jesus. And I’ve got nothing against that if you want to do that. There are people who do whole shows where that’s all they do. What we’re doing that’s different is we’re saying, before we go for the application let’s understand what it means first. How can you apply something until, first, you’ve understood the meaning and the context?

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: What people end up doing is saying, “Here’s the application. Now, let’s go figure out the literal meaning.” What they end up doing is the tail wagging the dog, no offense Georgia of blessed memory. Just the other day I came across an example of this, and I was reading a book called Kosher Jesus by an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi named Shmuley Boteach. Now, I’ve got to point out that he’s a Messianic Rabbi, but not Messianic in the sense of Jesus, or Yeshua. He’s Messianic in the sense that he’s a Chabad rabbi. I don’t know about him personally, but many of the Chabad people believe that Rabbi Schneerson, who died in 1994, will be the Messiah.

But he’s writing this book about Jesus, and whatever you think of the book, you’ve got to give the guy credit for writing the book; it’s a very bold move. You can disagree with 90% of what he said, but I actually want to urge people to go and buy the book because it’s very impressive that a rabbi, from his perspective… not only is he an Orthodox Jew, he’s Messianic, believing in a different Messiah, and he’s still writing a book about Yeshua, so that’s impressive.

Jono: I’ll tell you, Nehemia, that I’ve read the book, and to be honest, I found it challenging. I found it to be a challenging read, and I found it to be a challenging read for whether you’re a Karaite, whether you’re a Christian, whether you’re a Messianic, or whether you’re a Jew, there’s something in it for everyone to be offended by, and I’m amazed that it’s such a well-selling book. I mean, it sold a lot of copies and a lot of people are reading it, so it’s definitely worth a read.

Nehemia: It’s definitely worth the read and you can disagree with 90% of it. The very fact that an Orthodox rabbi who believes, or I don’t know if he believes, but his denomination believes in Rabbi Schneerson as the Messiah. And he’s writing a book about Jesus, Yeshua, who is a different Messiah. That’s impressive in itself, and you’ve got to give the guy credit.

But why do I bring him up? Because he’s talking in the book about something that, when I read it, I’m like, “I’ve got to bring this up when we talk about Devarim.” So Devarim, Deuteronomy, is the fifth book of the Torah, right? We talk about the Torah of Moses, but there are actually five sub-books within that book.

Just to remind people, in ancient Hebrew, when you use the word “sefer,” book, you could be talking about a letter, like one page. It talks about a certificate of divorce in Deuteronomy 24, and the word there is “sefer,” that’s a book. Anything written is a book. So, we’ve got the five books of Moses, but then the Torah of Moses is the collection of those five books. We actually saw, by the way, that we have the book of Psalms, but then there’s the five books within Psalms, book one, book two, book three, book four, book five, and they were put together as one book.

Well, Shmuley Boteach is talking about the story where Jesus feeds the people with the five loaves, and he gives a very beautiful explanation, which I couldn’t believe. Like, I’m reading this from an Orthodox rabbi, and he’s actually quoting Hyam Maccoby, who was a Jewish historian, brilliant Jewish historian. And Hyam Maccoby, through Shmuley, says that the five loaves really represent the five books of the Torah that Yeshua was teaching the people. And I thought, “That’s a beautiful allegory, a beautiful metaphor.” Whether it’s correct or not, I don’t know, it’s still beautiful.

It made me realize that Keith could, at every turn, be doing that. He legitimately could be doing that, and that could be what the whole show is about. And you could be doing that, Jono, at every turn saying, “This is the fifth book. This represents the fifth loaf that Yeshua fed the people with.” I thought, isn’t this amazing, that we’re actually talking about what the text says? I’m not knocking the people who do all the applications. Like I said, I’m not Messianic, I don’t look to Yeshua as the Messiah. I still think that’s a beautiful image of him feeding the five loaves, and that represents the five books of the Torah, and that’s how he was able to feed the thousands of people. What a beautiful image. He was teaching Torah, and that’s how he fed thousands of people with five, quote, ‘loaves’, allegorically.

That’s great, but if you can’t understand the literal meaning that five loaves, yes, are five challahs, or something like that, then I think you’re going to completely miss the boat. Anyway, I think it’s great that we’re doing this.

Keith: Let me just say this. I would like to say something. First of all, I would like to say that was Nehemia who brought the application of Jesus, folks, that was not me. Second of all, it’s a beautiful thing...

Nehemia: No, but I’m bringing it as an example of how it is...

Keith: Hold on, just a second. The second thing I want to say is that what’s so beautiful about what we have been doing, is that when we do leave the farm and bring applications from the New Testament, go back and check the programs - every single time that I do it, what’s it based on? The actual context of the Scripture, that if Jesus or one of the New Testament folks…

Jono: Amen.

Keith: But I have to do a commercial very quickly because my lovely wife is here. She’s going to say hello to everybody from New York. This is Andrea.

Jono: Hey!

Nehemia: Andrea!

Jono: Good day, Andrea. Good day, Mrs. Johnson. How are you going?

Andrea: Oh, hi! I’m fine, thank you. Greetings.

Jono: Wow, I tell you what, it’s about time we had you on Truth2U. How’s New York?

Andrea: New York is wonderful. It’s eventful and just lovely.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Is Keith behaving himself?

Keith: Yes.

Andrea: Well, you know, he doesn’t do that on any day, so…

Keith: No, no, don’t throw me under the -

Nehemia: Keep him away from the wine, Mrs. Johnson.

Andrea: He doesn’t behave himself.

Jono: He’s not the Messiah; he’s a very naughty boy.

Andrea: Not so much in that context. He’s a thinker outside the box, that’s for sure.

Jono: He certainly is.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: Yes. So, this is Andrea, you guys. She’s here in New York, she is doing amazing things, but she’s here with us and we are going to have ourselves a blast. She’ll be here with us, so this is her hello to the Torah Nation.

Jono: Well, g’day to Andrea, it’s wonderful to talk to you, and it’s about time we’ve had you on the program, I think.

Andrea: Well, thank you. I hope one day I have occasion to meet you.

Jono: I hope so. I certainly hope so.

Nehemia: May it be next year in Israel. Oi, oi, oi!

Jono: Next year in Israel.

Andrea: Yes, yes.

Jono: Amen. That’s right.

Andrea: Yehovah bless you.

Keith: She said, “Yehovah bless you,” did you get that? That’s my Methodist wife.

Nehemia: Yehovah be with you.

Jono: Amen. And with you too. Thank you, Andrea. Well, fellas, I’ve got to say…

Keith: All right, anyway...

Jono: Keith, you were saying?

Keith: My point is that when we’re doing the issue of application, I think the big difference is this - what we’ve tried to do, and this is what I hope that people will take and apply in their own study, whether you be Messianic or whether you be from Schneerson, as Nehemia said, any number of folks. And what I love about the book of, if I can say, from my tradition, Deuteronomy, is that if this isn’t the book of application, I don’t know what it is.

Moses is going to continually let the people know… now, we’ve gone through all of this work. We’ve gone through all of this listening to Bereshit, and we’ve gone through all this, and now, here he is about to send them into the land. And it ends up being about application. That’s what’s so powerful to me about the Torah - is that it has meaning, it has explication, application right there within it. We don’t need to retrofit theology. It speaks for itself. Where we can go to those other places, those places need to fit within the context of what the meaning is, and I think that’s what I’ve loved about doing it. When I do see it jump off the page, I’m like, “Hey, didn’t Yeshua say that?” Versus, “Hey, isn’t this Yeshua?” You see the difference. So it’s kind of exciting.

Jono: Amen. Look, while we’re on it... I mean, this is kind of an abstract Torah Pearls so far, but I’m going to keep it going by saying it’s been an absolute privilege and pleasure to be doing this program with you guys, and personally, it is a great joy of mine to be able to approach a program like this for the listeners that isn’t focused on some extreme eschatological picture or some sort of conspiracy theory, or trying to fit some sort of New Testament theology into the beginning of the book or some sort of Talmudic theology into the beginning of the book.

Keith: Right.

Jono: Honestly, I do not know of another program that does what we’re doing. And now that we’re in Deuteronomy and we can see the ribbon at the finish line and we’re kind of slipping into holiday mode, it’s just an exciting thing, isn’t it?

Keith: Well, let me get us back on track. I got to do something, Jono. I’ve got take us to verse, let’s see here, what is the verse? It is verse number three, “in the fortieth year,”

Jono: Fortieth year.

Nehemia: Fortieth year.

Keith: “…on the first day…”

Nehemia: On the first day.

Keith: “…of the eleventh month.” And what I want people to do, and I hope they’ll do this, and again, I get on my shtick. There are certain things that just jump off the page, three T’s, for me, Time, Torah, Tetragrammaton; when those things jump off the page I always slow down. Whenever I see, “In the fortieth year on the first day of the…” I always slow down because I’m like, “Wow, isn’t it amazing? For some reason in the Torah, he’s letting us know what time it is.”

And I think this is a really, really powerful thing. It’s a thread that lets us know that there is a keeping track of time, because these times end up being very important, not just so we have to come up with some amazing new meaning about the fortieth year on the first day, but what does it let us know? It lets us know where we’re at in time so that we can understand where we’re at in context as they’re doing what they’re doing.

That’s why I love to stop and to slow down when I see the days, the months, and the years. It really gives you a wonderful context.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: I wish I could take you guys back to something - maybe before the end of the Deuteronomy section I will do this - but there’s sometimes the times really explain things that we haven’t been able to see. We’ll do that as we go along. Let’s keep plugging.

Jono: Okay. We’re going to keep going. I’ve already let go of the wheel. Nehemia, did you want to pick up a verse?

Keith: He’s gone again, let’s go, come on, come on, Jono.

Jono: Okay. Where are we picking up, Keith? Here we go.

Nehemia: Did I get caught?

Jono: Was that you going to the toilet?

Keith: There it is. See, I’m telling you, ladies and gentlemen. He was gone again. Go ahead, go ahead.

Nehemia: I cannot tell a lie, yes it was.

Keith: Go ahead, Jono.

Jono: All right, Nehemia, as I said to Keith, I’ve already let go of the wheel in the bus, do you want to pick up a verse, particularly?

Nehemia: Verse 9. So what I like about this section is, and I understand why they said this is “Deuteronómion,” that this is a copy of the Torah, or excuse me, that this is a second Torah, because a lot of this is... I mean look, this book Devarim, most of the book is essentially Moses’s farewell speech. He’s standing in the plains of Moab, he’s about to die and this is his last speech.

Like Keith said, this is great preaching, and it really is. Because if you look at the other books, it’s, “And Yehovah spoke to Moses saying,” and “Moses told the people,” but there’s not a section where there’s actually preaching, and this is actually Moses standing before the people, preaching for like 30 chapters. And part of this preaching, and this is a very common style in ancient Hebrew, is he’s first giving the background before he gets to the point. We won’t even get to the point this week. Moses is kind of like me. We’re not even going to get to the point this week, this is just a historical introduction, and that’s a very common thing.

Keith: No, Nehemia, you have to say this: Moses is not like you, you’re like Moses. Think of it that way. He started this process.

Nehemia: I’m like Moses. Okay. Absolutely. No, but this is in Jewish style, this is a Hebraic style, that before you actually get to your point, you give a whole historical background. If you look at prayers throughout the Bible, you’ll see they talk about the Exodus, and “this is what you did for me, God, and we’re so thankful.”

Now here’s my point - this is what I really want to talk to you about. He’s setting the people up; he’s giving the background. What’s interesting is, the way he tells it is a little bit different than the way we read it back in Exodus through Numbers, and I think it’s worth pointing that out. The first issue that really comes up is in verse 9 where he says, “And I said to you at that time saying, ‘I cannot carry you myself.’” And he talks about the whole thing that we read in the Torah portion of Jethro back in Exodus, I think it was 18. Now, the difference between this and what we read in Exodus 18 is that back then we were told that this was actually Jethro’s idea, Yitro. He doesn’t mention Jethro here.

Jono: Yes. He doesn’t, he doesn’t mention him at all.

Nehemia: He cuts him out of the picture. I think that’s worth mentioning. Now, in verse 17 we’ve got a really interesting verse, and it says, “You shall…” can you actually read it in your translation, maybe, in one of y’all’s translations?

Jono: “You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid of any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.”

Nehemia: This is what we’ve talked about that this was a system... I mean we talked about this back in Exodus 18, I’ve mentioned it several times, that this is a system, that there’s essentially a pyramid of judges. There’s the judge of 50s and the judge of 100s, and that’s of how many people they’re over. In the American, I don’t know about the Australian system, they’re upside down, but in the American system, when you don’t like the judgment of the lower court, under certain circumstances you’re allowed to appeal to a higher court.

In the Hebrew system, you’re not appealing because you don’t like the judgment, you’re appealing, or you’re going up the chain to a higher judge, because the lower judge says, “I don’t know. This is a case I’ve never heard before. I’m not sure what the Torah says about this, and I’m not going to make it up. Let’s go ask somebody who’s above my pay grade.” Eventually, it gets back to Moses, and remember what Moses does. We saw five times, four and a half, five times, where he said, “I don’t know what the law is, I’m going to go ask God.”

Jono: Yes.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: He says, “ve-ki lo purash”; ‘if it’s not explained’, and he went, and he asked God. People could hear about that in previous Torah portions; I won’t go over that. But I think this is really interesting, that he kind of lays it out in one verse what the system is, and this is a system... why is this important? How does this apply to us, right?

The way it applies, for me, is that I look forward to the day when the top of the pyramid is restored, because that’s what we’re missing today. What we don’t have is the high priest. What we don’t have is the King, the anointed King, the Messiah, who sits at the head of this pyramid. When you don’t know what do to, then you go, and you ask him. We don’t have that figure, of whom Moses is a precursor, who Moses is a picture of that figure. In a sense, that’s what it means, for me, as a Karaite Jew, to be in exile. That I don’t have that, and all I can do is the best that I can do. Sometimes I may fall short and pray that God has mercy on me, because there are lots of situations where I have a case where I don’t know. I say, “This is above my pay grade, I really don’t know what to do, and I’ve just got to do that best I can.”

Now, there’s a verse that echoes this later in the Bible, in the book of Malachi, chapter 3, it’s really, verses 7-9, but since we’re low on time, I’m going to read verse 9. It’s talking about the Kohanim there, the priests. Remember, it’s their job to teach the Torah, they’re at the top of the pyramid, and the high priest is at the top, top of the pyramid. He talks about how these priests have gone astray. In verse 8, he says, “’And you have strayed from the way and you have made many stumbles in the Torah. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says Yehovah of Hosts. And then, in verse 9 it says... actually, can you read verse 9 in your translation, Jono? And then I’ll tell you what it really says.

Jono: Malachi 3:9?

Nehemia: Yes.

Jono: Okay. It says, “You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.”

Nehemia: Okay, is that 3:9?

Jono: Oh, it is. It’s chapter two, 8-9.

Nehemia: It’s 2:9, okay, all right. What I meant to say is, and I was just testing you to see if you were paying attention, Jono, it’s Malachi chapter two, verses 7 through 9. So, can you read Malachi 2:9?

Jono: Okay, so Malachi 2:9, “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown partiality in the law.”

Nehemia: There it is. What does that mean? That’s exactly what he told them not to do in matters of judgment. He said, “Look, if a rich man comes before you, don’t find in favor of him just because he’s rich. And if a poor man comes before you, don’t find in favor of him just because you feel bad for him. You’ve got to judge according to the truth.” That’s what he’s saying in Deuteronomy 1:17; do not show partiality in matters of judgment.

It says, literally, “Like the small and like the great, you shall hear, and you shall not fear any man, for the judgment belongs to Elohim, to God.” Here he’s saying that what the priests did is, they showed partiality in the Torah. What does that mean? They were supposed to teach the Torah, and there must have been situations where they said, “If I teach that, it’s going to offend a certain person, or if I teach that… he’s a big honcho. If I tell him he’s a sinner, I might find my head on a platter. I don’t think I should get involved with that.” That’s what the priests were doing in Second Temple times. By being more afraid of what people had to say, they were essentially leading people astray and not fearing God.

There’s this image - and here I’ve got to give credit to the rabbis - there’s this image in rabbinic literature, which is the image of the thief in the night. I know Christians love to use the term “thief in the night,” but they don’t know what it means.

So, the rabbis point out that, in Hebrew, there are two words for thief. I think we may have actually talked about this in an earlier portion. There’s the word “lignov,” and the word “ligzol.” “Gazal” and “ganav,” which you can translate both of those as “to steal,” but actually “ganav,” is somebody who steals through stealth. He’s someone who sneaks in; in the middle of the night, he breaks into your house and he steals from you. If you do “gazal,” the other word, then what you do is, you know, that’s often what’s described as a highway robber, or in modern terms, we call that a mugger. It’s somebody who uses force and violence in order to steal from you.

So, think about the difference between the thief in the night and the highway robber. Here’s something the rabbis say, which is really profound, and I’ve got to give them credit for that, even as a Karaite Jew. They say that the difference between the thief in the night and the highway mugger is that the highway mugger is not afraid of anybody. He’s not afraid of God and he’s not afraid of man. In that respect… and think about the thief in the night; the thief in the night is afraid of man but not afraid of God.

What the rabbis say, which I think is profound, is they ask the question, “Who’s worse?” I think most people would say, “The highway robber is worse. What do you mean? He could kill me; he’s coming at me with violence.” But the rabbis, what they point out, and you could disagree with them, but their insight is to say that the thief in the night is worse because the highway robber, at least he’s consistent. He’s not afraid of God and he’s not afraid of man. The thief in the night fears man but has no fear of God. That’s what they’re talking about here. That’s what the prophet is talking about here in Malachi 2:9, “For you have been a respecter of persons in the Torah, you’re not afraid of God, but you are afraid of man.” In that respect, as a thief in the night, you’re worse than the highway robber.

Jono: Wow. Keith?

Nehemia: Have I completely left the farm?

Keith: Well, no, that’s okay, because we’ll bring it into application. James, chapter 2, talks about it, and James, chapter 2, basically takes this passage and expounds a bit on it. There’s an example where we have application that’s based right within context. “My brothers and sisters…” it says, “If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat to you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” The point is, do not show favoritism.

And again, this is why this is not a very popular book with some of the Reformers because they would say, “Wait, that sounds too Torah-ish.” I think it’s exactly what James wanted to do, was to bring into context what the Torah says and then applying it for the people.

Jono: Very good, there it is.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Okay. So, Keith, “So they departed from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the mountain of the Amorites, as Yehovah our God had commanded us. Then we came to Kadesh Barnea. And I said to you,” Moses, “I said to you, ‘You have come to the mountains of the Amorites, which Yehovah our God is giving us. Look, Yehovah your God will set the land before you; go up and possess it, as Yehovah God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’ So every one of you came near and said, ‘Let us send men before us, and let them search out the land for us.’” Keith, before you go any further, are you going to tell us what’s going on?

Keith: Let me tell you what’s happening...

Jono: Fill us in.

Keith: …what’s happening is, and this is so exciting, by the time folks hear this, they’re going to have a chance to do this. We’re going to be going to the land of Israel, and we’re going to spy out the land. What that means for me, is that after this whole Torah portion, we’ve done this entire program, Pearls from the Torah and Torah Pearls, and just the time, the Torah, the tetragrammaton, all these things over the last 10 years - now, the application of it is to bring some people over that they could experience it for themselves. The first man in is Jono, myself and Jono, will be going. We found out that Nehemia will actually be there, doing the searching for the Aviv, so we’re going to have a chance...

Jono: Nice.

Keith: It is going to be a blast. We’re going to be actually recording from Israel and getting a chance to bring people in, live, to see what is happening over there as we go into the land.

Jono: On sight, we’re going to be recording. My first time there, so it’s going to be very, very exciting and I’m going to enjoy bringing the information to you, dear listeners. Now, they sent them to spy out the land. “And the plan pleased me well, so I took twelve of your men, one man from each tribe,” and so on and so forth. Remember, of course, that they brought back the bad report and the only ones that had the good report were Caleb and Joshua, right?

Keith: Yes, and let’s stop for a second because here’s what’s really interesting, and this is an example when you read it, and this time when Moses is speaking about it, he does a little bit more. I’ll give you an example - if you’re doing a message, you’re doing a sermon, you’re preaching, and so you’re preaching somewhere and you’ve got your outline, and your outline basically has here’s what the inspiration is, the explication, the application, whatever. But in the midst of it, as you’re dealing with the crowd, something will come into your mind that fits and so you speak that thing.

What I think is so interesting here is Moses is preaching, and I’m just taking this approach right now, Moses is preaching and then he adds this little phrase, and I want to know if you find this phrase anywhere else in the Torah. And he says, “Then all of you came to me and said, ‘Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take...” And then in verse 23, it says, “And the idea seemed good to me.” Now, here’s the question, whose idea was it? Whose idea was it?

Nehemia: This is something I think we talked about when we read the story in Numbers. We pointed out that there’s a little bit of a difference here, because here it’s their idea. If you remember in Numbers, if I remember correctly, it was Yehovah’s idea. He told them to do it. That’s the second time. Before it was Jethro versus him, and then, here it’s Yehovah versus the people, and that’s really interesting.

Keith: Yes. What I think is interesting about it, though, is that sometimes, for example, when you’ve got your public relations message and then you’ve got your private message. So there’s what’s going on. I’m writing the Torah, no, listen, you don’t have to edit this out, but I’m just saying this. So, which one was it? What if I say it was both?

Jono: You know what I’m seeing, though?

Keith: Yes?

Jono: If it was a good idea and it turned out to work well, “Hey, it was my idea,” but if it was a bad idea and the repercussions were bad, “Hey, it was your idea, you guys came up with that one.” Because we see when we get into chapter four, actually, at the end of chapter three; next week’s Torah portion - I’m just going to tell listeners now - Keith and Nehemia are going to have an argument again. And things change a little bit again in the beginning of next week’s Torah portion. We won’t do it now, but we’ll have fun then. There seems to be a bit of that going on, I think.

Keith: Yeah. So, what I want to say, though, is the reason I say “both” is because let’s just say it was Yehovah who did it, the people then came, Moses thought it was a good idea. The point is, is that it could be both. Again, what I love about this whole book and why it’s going to be difficult to get through these portions is because, it’s so packed with extra, when I use the word extra, information, but remember this, and I want to keep saying this - remember this, you’re standing there, you’re listening to this being spoken, there is a progression. You’re in Bereshit and you go through Shemot and you go through this whole thing, and you get to Deuteronomy, and it’s like any good message, any good sermon, what you always want to do, is you want to bring the people back and say application, again. Let me remind you, again. And again, if you look at it from that perspective, Jono, if you look at it from that perspective, Nehemia; folks that are listening, it just brings this entire section of Torah alive, full of application and extra information, inspiration and revelation. So, let’s continue.

Jono: Amen. I would like to, if I may, I would like to highlight a verse. This is just a little phrase that I just find beautiful, and I just think is worth highlighting. This is chapter 1, verse 31, “and in the wilderness where you saw how Yehovah your God carried you, as a man carries his son.”

Keith: Yes.

Jono: I just think that is so beautiful, “in all the way that you went until you came to this place.” “As a man carries his son,” I just think that’s a beautiful image. Of course, that takes me back to Exodus 4:22, where it says, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says Yehovah, Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me.’”

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: And that’s a powerful thing all the way around, just this whole discussion of how we see the idea of him calling forth his son, being Israel. I mean that is – I’m going to try not... well, let’s just keep going.

Nehemia: Wait. Hold on.

Jono: Okay. Nehemia?

Nehemia: Can I bring a point in verse 28, chapter 1? We may never get out of chapter 1. But Deuteronomy 1:28 is a really interesting verse because this is what the people respond when they hear the bad reports of the spies. Literally, they say, “anah anachnu olim,” how will we go up, or where will we go up, literally. They say, “acheinu hemasu et levavenu,” our brothers have melted our hearts, is what it literally says. “Saying there is a great and high nation,” or, a great nation that is greater and higher than us, “great cities and they are fortified up to the heavens,” etc. So, I think that’s a really interesting phrase, “our brothers have melted our hearts.” What I find interesting about it is that we hear almost the identical phrase about the hearts melting, and by the way, is that what you have in verse 28, in your English, “our brothers have melted our heart”?

Keith: Yes, let’s see here, “our brothers have made us lose heart.”

Nehemia: Lose heart?

Jono: I’ve got, “ours brothers have discouraged our hearts.”

Nehemia: Okay, but isn’t that a great image? “Our brothers have melted our hearts”? It’s a powerful image. Think about a piece of ice and it just melts away, or something frozen and it melts and it, like, goes limp. “Our brothers have melted our hearts.”

The same phrase, later, will appear in Joshua, chapter 2:11, and there, this is when the spies... this is also a story about spies, but these are spies who go to find out, what is the morale? What are the Canaanites thinking? Are they thinking that they’re going to destroy us without any problem? Or are they afraid of us? What’s going on?

So, they send the two spies and they come to Rahab, or Rahav, and they ask her, “What’s going on with the people here?” And she says, in verse 11 of Joshua, chapter 2, she says, “We have heard, and our hearts have melted, and the spirit no longer stands up in man before you.” Meaning, we no longer have the strength to stand before you, the spirit is not standing up before us. “For Yehovah, your God, he is God in heaven above and on the earth below.”

I think it’s amazing that there are two spy stories. In one the people of Israel are looking at these giants and they say, “We’re never going to defeat them,” and their hearts melt. Their brothers melt their hearts, cause their hearts to melt. In the other story we have the Canaanites who look at the Israelites and they think, “We’re never going to defeat them; they defeated Pharaoh, they defeated Sihon and Og, the two kings across the river. Our hearts have melted.”

It reminds of, actually, a core principle; maybe I’ve said this before. It’s a core principle in Israeli military doctrine, which I think kind of permeates the entire society, beyond the military even. It’s credited to an Israeli general named Yitzhak Sadeh, and he said as follows, “When it rains, the enemy also gets wet; whoever holds out one second longer wins.” What he means is that, you might think you’re all miserable and you’re getting shot and you think you have no chance, but the enemy might also think he has no chance. What you have to do is hold on, never lose faith, have trust, believe in Yehovah, and believe in the ability that He gives you to defeat your enemy. I think that’s a powerful statement, “whoever holds out one second longer wins.”

It’s exactly what we’re reading about here, that the Israelites… what defeated them is that they thought they were defeated. The same thing with the Canaanites; they heard that they defeated Egypt, and Egypt is a superpower, and they defeated the two kings nearby. It wasn’t a one-hit wonder with Egypt; they came and defeated the two countries nearby us. And it melted their hearts because they gave up. So, whoever holds out one second longer wins. It’s a powerful statement and that’s the principle here.

Jono: There it is. Very good. Keith, I kind of want to jump to chapter 3 verse 11, which is a big jump, but before we do that ...

Nehemia: What? Wait. I’ve got something in chapter 1.

Keith: While he gets water, let’s...

Jono: We’re still in chapter 1.

Nehemia: Last thing in chapter 1, I think. Chapter 1, verse 32, is very important, okay? Can you actually read verses 29 to 32, real quick? I’ll make my point fast.

Jono: Here it goes. “Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. Yehovah your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all that He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how Yehovah your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet, for all that, you did not believe Yehovah your God, who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day.”

Nehemia: There it is. Okay. I think this is a really profound statement, “and in all that, he did not believe.” It’s profound because no one’s disputing the fact. They were there. Their parents saw it…

Jono: They saw it. They did.

Nehemia: … they saw it. So “do not believe,” that doesn’t mean that they didn’t think it happened, that they questioned, is this real? No one was questioning that it was real. They saw all of that and despite that, they didn’t trust in Yehovah. I think that goes back to what I talked about, “the hearts melting,” that they didn’t believe in him. Despite all that, they were afraid of these big people in Canaan.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Nehemia, you still there? We’ve lost him again. Something’s going on.

Keith: No, let’s continue. Go to chapter 3. He’s gone. This is hilarious. We can’t edit any of this out.

Jono: Just so that the listeners know, before we started the program, it began with Nehemia blowing a fuse. Having to go and reset the fuse in his fuse box in his apartment.

Keith: So every once in a while... yeah, go ahead. Tell them what’s happening.

Jono: And then the call dropped out and then his call dropped out and we’ve been going back-and-forth, so it’s a little bit disjointed in this one, but anyway, we’re getting through it, it’s all right.

Keith: I believe there’s something to it, folks, because we’re in Deuteronomy and what we get a chance to do is, we get to proclaim it the way Moses did. Again, it’s so important, we’re repeating a lot of stuff that we’ve already talked about, but when there are those little Torah Pearls, we’re definitely wanting to want to highlight those. And when Nehemia comes back, we’re going to have him say the prayer that our eyes will be open and that his electricity would work, so that he can continue to work.

Jono: Amen. We will do that.

Keith: But he’s gone right now, let’s find him.

Jono: But in the meantime, Keith, it is interesting to me, as I was reading in chapter 2... ah, he’s back, are you there?

Nehemia: Wait. We’re not in chapter 3, are we?

Jono: No, no, we’re still in chapter 2.

Nehemia: I got more on chapter 1.

Jono: Okay.

Keith: Promise me you’ll never listen to this show, just this one here, don’t ever listen to this one.

Jono: All I’m pointing out is that Yehovah makes a point of saying to Moses, as he says in 2 verse 5, “Do not meddle with them,” he’s talking about Esau, “Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.”

And it’s interesting because we find also that’s the... now I believe it’s the descendants of Lot, is that correct Nehemia? They also have been given a possession, the people of Ammon. It seems like they have their own covenant, they have their own thing going on with God. Is that fair?

Nehemia: They’ve got their own deal going. These are all our cousins.

Keith: Wait a minute, I want to say something about it, is that what’s interesting to me is this idea of fairness and promise. What really excites me about it is that when Yehovah gives a thing, or gives something or a promise or a situation to a people or a person, you know, “God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” So here he tells Esau, “Here’s what I’m going to give you, oh, but I changed my mind.” No. What’s Esau is Esau’s, from Lot is Lot’s, and you don’t need that. What I have for you is what I have for you. You don’t need to worry about what I gave Jono, what I gave Jono I gave Jono. What I gave you is what I gave you, and you go ahead and fulfill your opportunity to get what you have that’s from Me. There’s no sense in you trying to take from someone else. That’s a very powerful picture to me…

Nehemia: It is.

Keith: …that He’s not saying, “Well, forget about Jono, forget about Esau, he’s nowhere near as important as you.” No, his promise is his promise.

Jono: There it is. This is verse 25, “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.”

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: What chapter are you? Is it chapter 1, or…?

Jono: Now, that’s chapter 2 verse 25. And then it goes on...

Nehemia: Wait hold on a second.

Jono: No, we’ve got to go back to chapter 1, sorry. Okay.

Nehemia: No, all right, I’ll save that for later, but chapter 2, verse 24, is I think really important. Did you read that? Did I miss that when I lost my Internet connection?

Keith: Let’s read it right now.

Jono: Okay. “Rise and take your journey and cross over the River Arnon.”

Nehemia: There it is.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: “Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to possess it and engage him in battle.”

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: So, the King James version actually, I think, has it pretty well. It says, “and contend with him in battle.” But what does it mean, to engage someone in battle? So, the word here, “hitgar,” also has the connotation of, “to challenge someone.” In other words, get into battle with him somehow. Then, what’s interesting is in verse 26. He sends them words of peace, and what basically he’s doing is, he’s looking for an excuse to go to war against him and looking for an excuse that Sihon will start the war. In other words, he’s not going to come out with his army.

Jono: Which is what happens, right?

Nehemia: It’s exactly what happens.

Jono: So, he says, “Let me pass through, I’ll pay for the water, I’ll pay for the food, we’ll stay on the highway, we won’t do anything wrong, we just want to go through.” And he says, “No, go away.”

Keith: That’s exactly what he says.

Nehemia: So, I think it’s interesting that he goes with the mission of starting a war, and he says, “Hey, let’s have peace. It worked with the other guys; it can work with you. We’ll just pass through. We won’t bother you.” What’s interesting is verse 29. Can you read verse 29?

Jono: Verse 29, “Just as the descendants of Esau who dwelt in Seir and the Moabites who dwelt in Ar did for me, until I cross the Jordan to the land which Yehovah our God is giving us.”

Nehemia: That’s really interesting. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time we’re hearing about this with Moab, and with Edom it’s… not so clear. If you read in Deuteronomy (actually Numbers), chapter 20, verses 21 to 22, they ask for permission to pass through Edom and they’re not given permission.

Jono: Yeah, that’s what I recall.

Nehemia: Right. Now, here we read about how, when they get to… and this was, I think, the part we skipped. You pulled a fast one in verse 8. No, it says, “And we passed from our brothers, the sons of Esau who dwell in Seir by the way of the Arava, from Eilat to Ezion-Geber.” What that’s describing is what today, if you look at the eastern border of Israel in the South, there’s actually a highway that runs along that... there’s a valley called the Arava Valley. The Arava Valley runs, essentially, from Eilat, which is on the southern border of Israel, all the way up to the Dead Sea. It’s actually part of the Syro-African Rift Valley. It’s this crack in the earth, and that’s a great way to pass, essentially, North into the heartland of Israel. Apparently, this is what they did. They went up the Arava Valley and then came up the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.

So basically, all they really had to do to pass through the land of Edom, was pass through a little, tiny stretch where the Edomites were controlling… basically, they went up and tried to go around Edom. Coming from the east, going west and when they hit Eilat, Ezion-Geber there, they cut across a little bit of Edomite territory and then went through the Arava Valley up north. So, they hardly passed through Edom. Maybe they walked through their territory for one day.

But, through Moab… as far as I can remember, this is the first time we’re hearing that they went through the territory of Moab with permission. In fact, in Deuteronomy, chapter 23, there’s a point made - if we hop over to Deuteronomy 23, it says, “An Ammonite and a Moabite shall not come into the congregation of Yehovah,” this is verse 4, “even the tenth generation,” etc. “because they did not approach you, or greet you, with bread and water on the way when you went out of Egypt.”

Then it talks about the thing of Bilaam, as well, which is part of it. But Israel may have bought water from them, and maybe that’s the point; that they charged us for water and didn’t give it to us when we were in need. I don’t know. But this is the first time we’re hearing about it, if I’m not mistaken. We hear about how they went through the land of Moab, and Moab is terrified and hires Bilaam against them, but that they actually paid the Moabites for the water and the food.

Jono: The food.

Nehemia: I don’t think we were told that before.

Jono: I don’t recall that. Keith, I find verse 30 interesting. “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for Yehovah your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate...”

Keith: And that’s the verse I was waiting for. Yes, that’s the...

Jono: “…made his heart obstinate.” Yeah?

Keith: Immediately when you read that, immediately what I think about is Pharaoh, and I think about how he had to... there’s a couple different words he uses when he’s talking about his heart. But the point is this idea that even if Pharaoh wanted to say, “Okay, go.” God’s like, “No, I’m not done with you yet.” It’s like, you know, you’re in a wrestling match.

Jono: Make an example of you, my boy.

Keith: One, two, three, and he gets up to eight, and then, instead of holding him down, he puts him up on his feet and says, “No, we’re still fighting.” And so, in the same situation, even though the king would have said, “Okay, fine.” He’s like, “No, no, we’re going to have a fight.”

Jono: And that’s what happens. “That He might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day.” And so, they sort him out. And, of course, King Og of Bashan - he doesn’t even... it’s like, “Don’t mess around with this guy, just go to battle. I’ve handed him into your hands, we’ll sort him out.”

But what I’m curious about, and maybe there are verses, Nehemia, that you might want to come back to, but let me go to 3, verse 11. It says...

Nehemia: Wait, what? No.

Keith: We’re going to be able to go back; he’s just bringing one thing up.

Nehemia: Oh, we’ll go back. Okay.

Jono: Okay. Nehemia?

Keith: It’s okay, Nehemia. Relax. No, it’s okay. It’s okay.

Nehemia: I thought you were trying to get past chapter two.

Keith: No, no.

Jono: “For only Og, king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants. Indeed, his bedstead was an iron bedstead.” Now, I’m just curious, Rephaim and Nephilim; are they related in any way?

Nehemia: Not at all. And Rephaim isn’t necessarily giants. Rephaim is also sometimes translated as ghosts.

Jono: Truly? How about that.

Nehemia: Yes. Like, for example, I live in a valley called Emek Refaim, which is today in Jerusalem. It used to be on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the Rephaim Valley, and presumably, they say it was called this is because this is where they buried people, and so it was the Valley of Ghosts.

Jono: Wow. Okay. And so, the reason why they’ve chosen to put giants there in that verse is because of the remainder of the verse, “Indeed, his…”

Nehemia: Well, it says in the context. Just to give you an example, Isaiah, chapter 26, verse 14, which says, “They are dead, they shall not live. They are deceased, they shall not rise.” The Hebrew word is “Rephaim,” that’s the word they’re translating as “deceased.” But presumably… oh, so like the JPS has, “shades, they can never rise.” So “shades,” is like a poetic word for ghosts.

Jono: So, my next question is, “bedstead.” What do you have in Hebrew? What is “bedstead”? “Indeed, his bedstead was an iron bedstead.”

Nehemia: It says bed like, what do you call that thing? It’s the ...

Jono: It’s the head of the bed?

Nehemia: No, not the head of the bed.

Jono: The frame, what?

Nehemia: The frame of the bed, right. The thing it lays on, and it’s trying to illustrate how tall he is. That, if his bedstead, like the platform for his bed is nine cubits long and four cubits wide, this is a big guy.

Keith: What’s interesting is, when I’m reading through this, if you look at the context of it, and this actually kind of makes sense, it says, “And this is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites,” but if you look at the word as his bed being the sarcophagus...

Nehemia: What?

Keith: No, this is really funny. You go down to ‘B’ and it says ‘his bed’. Now, of course, if we go and find out what the actual word is, if you open up, Nehemia, to verse 11, what is the Hebrew word that you have there?

Nehemia: Okay. It says, “The Rephaim also are considered like the giants and the Moabites call them Emim.”

Keith: Okay, verse 11, meaning what his bed is, chapter 3.

Nehemia: Oh, we’re in chapter 3, sorry.

Keith: Jeez, oh, my gosh.

Nehemia: I’m still on the Rephaim thing. I’m talking about the Rephaim thing.

Keith: No, no, no. Chapter 3, verse 11. What do you have?

Nehemia: What do we do with the Rephaim thing? Let’s see. So, the word is “eres,” which you could translate it, like, that’s basically a bed, but what it means is the frame of the bed. Sometimes it’s a bed, sometimes they’ll translate it as a couch. You could legitimately translate this, “Behold his bed was a bed of iron, is it not in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon? Nine cubits is its length and four cubits is its width according to the cubits of a man.”

Jono: So Keith, you’ve got sarcophagus? Is that what you’re saying?

Nehemia: Sarcophagus? No, it’s not a sarcophagus. What? Give me a break.

Jono: That’s what I’ve heard. I ask because Keith mentioned it, and I’ve actually got it in the study notes.

Nehemia: Really?

Jono: Yes. It says, “‘Bedstead’ could also be translated ‘sarcophagus’; that is, a stone coffin.”

Nehemia: But it says it’s iron.

Jono: Yeah, I know, I know. As in a stone coffin. Keith, you brought up the word sarcophagus; where did you get that from?

Keith: Just my little study notes down at the bottom.

Jono: You got it in the study notes as well?

Keith: Yes.

Jono: It’s just kind of weird because, I mean, why they chose giants, I mean, obviously the size of the bedstead or the sarcophagus could have been ghosts, “the remnant of the ghosts. Indeed, his sarcophagus was huge”?

Nehemia: It also reads “giants.” I mean, Rephaim apparently was the name of a people. In addition, of some kind of tribe, because what I read before, 2:11 mentions them. It talks about how the Emim lived before the Moabites. The tribe called the Emim, who were Rephaim, who were giants, used to live in the area where the Moabites lived, and the Moabites drove them out. What’s interesting is “Emim” means terrifying, from the word “eimah,” terrifying. So “Emim” would be “terrifying ones.”

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: What’s interesting is they have a different name, these people; they’re called Zamzummim.

Keith: Zamzummim.

Nehemia: Zamzummim… what is it, by the Ammonites or something.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: “Zamzummim” is from the word “Zamzum.” It’s an onomatopoeia, which means it sounds like it is, so it means something like “to buzz.” Zamzummim are the people who buzz; buzzers. That’s an interesting name for them. Maybe when they went out to the battle, they would make some kind of noise, or maybe they played the didgeridoo and that terrified the enemy, I don’t know.

Jono: As it would. Keith, I know you’ve spent a lot of time around footballers, right?

Keith: Yes.

Jono: I don’t know if you’ve met a lot of very tall footballers, or perhaps, basketball players, but nine cubits - I’ve got a note here that says it was something like 13 feet. Have you ever met someone 13 feet?

Keith: Never anyone 13 feet. That doesn’t mean that he was 13 feet, it just says that’s how big his bed was.

Jono: His bedstead was, yeah.

Nehemia: My bed is actually taller than me but, presumably, let’s say he was, I don’t know, 10 feet; he’s still a pretty big guy.

Jono: That’s huge.

Nehemia: You’ve got to have room for the pillows. Look, it’s not just a matter of tall. I remember our friend Reggie White, you know, that was a big guy, and I’m not just talking about… and he was tall, but he was also muscle. He was big.

Jono: Tall and wide.

Nehemia: That was a big guy, you wouldn’t want to mess with him. I would not want to be in the opposition on the football thing where I’m trying to get away from him tackling me. That’s got to hurt.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: There it is, the Rephaim. Nehemia, where did you want to take us?

Nehemia: Wasn’t there something in chapter 2 I wanted to talk about?

Keith: Like I said, he had nothing, Jono, nothing.

Nehemia: No, verse 36. I’m going to shout from this, are you kidding me? Can you read verse 36, somebody?

Jono: Oh, go for it.

Nehemia: No, you go ahead.

Jono: Okay. “From Aroer,” is that it?

Nehemia: Aroer, yes.

Jono: “Aroer which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and from the city that is on the ravine, as far as Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us; Yehovah our God delivered all to us.”

Nehemia: “One city that was too strong for us there was not.” Do you have “too strong,” Keith? What do you have?

Keith: “There was not one town that was too strong for us.”

Nehemia: So, what it literally says is “sagva,” there was not one city that was, literally, too high for us. What it’s describing is their strategy, essentially, of siege. They didn’t really perfect the battering ram in this period of history. The way they would capture a city is they had to scale the walls.

Jono: Scale the wall, yes.

Nehemia: And they said, “there was not one city too high for us.” They were able to get over every one of those walls. They were big walls; they reached up into heaven, that was the report; but they were able to get over the walls. Why do I mention this? This reminds me of a verse, one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Proverbs 18, verse 10. It says, “The name of Yehovah is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.”

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: But what it literally says - that’s the translation - what it literally says is, “The righteous runs into it and is high up”, or, “is aloft.” It’s the same exact word as here in Deuteronomy 2:36, to be high up. That the righteous runs into it and he’s safe up there in that “migdal oz,” in that tower Yehovah has made.

Jono: “Migdal oz,” yes.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Brilliant.

Nehemia: He’s safe, he’s up, and he’s lifted up.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: You run to Yehovah in that tower and you are lifted up and safe. Whoo!

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Can I get a shout?

Jono: Amen. I’m jumping ahead; I’m going to go to 18. But before we do that, we promised everyone that we were going to say... Nehemia, last time that your internet fell off, we promised everyone that you would say the prayer from Psalm 119, verse 18.

Nehemia: We did?

Keith: That’s what we did, so go ahead, Nehemia.

Nehemia: All right. I’ll do that. “Yehovah, avinu shebashamayim, annah gal eneinu ve-nabitah niphlaot mi-Torahteha.” Yehovah, our Father in heaven, uncover our eyes that we may see the wonderful hidden things of your Torah. Amen.

Jono: Amen, amen. Keith, would you take us from Deuteronomy 3:18?

Keith: Yes, “And I commanded you at that time, ‘Yehovah your God has given you this land to take possession of it. But all your able-bodied men, armed for battle, must cross over ahead of your brother Israelites. However, your wives, your children and your livestock (I know you have much livestock) may stay in the towns I have given you, until Yehovah gives rest to your brothers as He has to you, and they too have taken over the land that Yehovah your God is giving them across the Jordan. After that, each of you may go back to the possession that I have given you.’ At that time I commanded Joshua, ‘You have seen with your own eyes all Yehovah your God has done to these two kings. Yehovah will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going. Do not be afraid of them; Yehovah your God Himself will fight for you.’”

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: And that’s a great picture of what happens in the Book of Joshua, which you guys do talk about, you and Yoel in what do you call it? Light of the Prophets?

Jono: Light of the Prophets. Light of the Prophets is with Yoel and myself, and we’re hammering through Judges at the moment. But yes.

Nehemia: Oh, wow.

Keith: Okay, awesome. That’s a great picture of what’s going to happen, “Do not be afraid of them; Yehovah your God will fight for you.”

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Can we talk about, in verse 21, we’ve got something kind of special that I’m a little bit surprised Keith hasn’t talked about. If you look at the Hebrew, the name Joshua is spelled a little bit differently. It’s only spelled twice that way in the Tanakh.

Keith: I think it isn’t.

Nehemia: Absolutely. This is what’s called a full spelling; normally it’s what’s called a defective, or lacking, spelling. What that refers to is that there are certain letters in Hebrew that are called vowel helpers, or technically, ‘matres lectionis’. The vowel helpers, they don’t have to appear in the word, they could be there or not be there. Very often what will happen is, if you have an option for two of them, that you’ll have one. And the name Joshua is almost always spelled with the one, and here it’s spelled with two of them. Yehoshua has the two vavs in it.

Jono: Okay. So, hang on.

Keith: It’s got two witnesses in it.

Jono: Let me get this straight.

Nehemia: It’s not actually... that appears twice.

Jono: No, let me get this straight. So, what you’re saying is that the name Joshua, Yehoshua, is spelled slightly differently in two places in the Tanakh, this being one of them.

Nehemia: Right. Normally, it is spelled yud, hei, vav, those are three letters of God’s name, Yehovah, and then “shua,” which is short for “yehoshia,” he will save, “Yehovah yehoshia.” In this particular place and in one other in Judges, we have Yehoshua, yud, hei, vav, same thing, “shin” same thing, and then vav, ein. There’s an extra vav, in this verse and in another verse.

What’s interesting is that this is the type of thing that the Masoretes, the scribes who copied Scripture, they were fanatical about copying these things exactly. If the word was spelled unusually in this passage and in one other passage, they would write a note in the margin, they’d write a little circle over the word “Yehoshua,” and in the margin it would say ‘bet’, which means twice, meaning it’s written this way twice. They knew by heart which two verses it was. There are tens of thousands of notes like this throughout the Hebrew text of Scripture, throughout the manuscripts, indicating all kinds of little things; that this has a vav, and this doesn’t have a vav, and this has two vavs, and this is one vav, and this has no vavs when it could have had two. There are literally tens of thousands, maybe more, notes like this. On every single page there are notes that indicate little quirks like this, and this is because some Jews believe that you could find mystical meaning or interpret it.

Jono: Well, this is what I wanted to ask you. Is this just a quirk? Or does it actually have a variation on the way it’s pronounced or its definition?

Nehemia: No, it would be translated the exact same way. It would be read the exact same way in Hebrew, and it would mean the exact same thing in Hebrew. The point of the scribes was that this isn’t a book that we wrote - God wrote this book, and it’s preserved by Jewish scribes. We have to preserve it the exact way it was written, even if there’s something unusual in it. Even if there’s a mistake, we’ve got to preserve it exactly, because if we change that mistake, we might find out later that wasn’t a mistake and we introduced a mistake by, quote, “fixing” it.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: So, they’re fanatical in the way that they copied Scripture, down to every single letter in Hebrew being copied exactly. They’re being notes indicating this has to be copied this way even though it’s unusual and that has to be copied that way even though it’s unusual. This is just an example of it. This appears twice in two places, that the name Yehoshua is spelled this way with an extra vav. One of them is here in Deuteronomy 3:21, and the other one is in Judges, chapter 2, verse 7.

Jono: Brilliant. That is fascinating.

Keith: Okay.

Jono: That is fascinating. Thank you for that, Nehemia, and I think we’ll leave it there. Keith, did you want to add anything to that?

Keith: No, I’m just excited to get to the fight next week.

Jono: There we have it, my friends. I can’t wait for that myself.

Nehemia: Keith, I come with words of peace.

Jono: Thank you, Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon. You’ve been listening to Torah Pearls. Next week we are in Va'etchanan, is that right?

Nehemia: Va'etchanan.

Jono: Excellent. Deuteronomy 3:23 to 7:11. Until then dear listeners, be blessed and be set apart by the truth of our Father’s word. Shalom

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18 thoughts on “Torah Pearls #44 – Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22)

  1. UNDERSTAND BEFORE U APPLY,..LET US ALL DWELL TOGETHER
    IN UNDERSTANDING, AND ASK OUR Father in Heaven for wisdom and with the help of our Creator, He will let us, he who has an ear, dwell in unity.

  2. I think you’re over-thinking ‘the other side’ or ‘the east side of Jordan’. It’s the other side of Ha aretz – where they want to be, or their final destination. For forty years they have longed to wind up on their side of the Jordan, but Devarim opens on the ‘wrong’ side – not yet on ‘their’ side of the Promised Land.

  3. Thank u very much for what u r doing. I really enjoy listening to y’all. I pray that the father gives me back my health so I can help support ur ministry.

  4. Greetings and Blessings,
    I am confused about the Law of Mose,s, is it not YAH Law or is it Mose’s Law? Are they not one?

  5. Five loaves and two fishes, yes 5 loaves Torah, the bread of life, and fish from Genesis received a blessing of multiplication, also eating of fish is for blessing of sons. Yeshua multiplies sons of Elohim through breaking of bread.

  6. Studying Ancient Near Eastern Covenants, we find that it may be necessary to re new a Covenant, reason clearly is a new leaders Joshua, and new purpose, they are now entering the promised land. In Covenant renewal, you give a brief history of events covered in the original covenant; to give continuity to the 2nd or renewal, at a renewal time;addional can be added (called adendum) laws that pertain to the next purpose which is living in the land.

  7. I wished you would have discussed the verses commanding us to commit genocide, specifically Deut 2:32 And we conquered all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed every city, the men, women, and the young children; we left over no survivor. And Deut Deut 3:6 And we utterly destroyed them as we did to Sihon, king of Heshbon, utterly destroying every city, the men, the women, and the young children.
    I am so disturbed by these verses, and even more so that it wasn’t addressed in your commentary. Are you peace with those verses?

  8. SHALOM,

    I am VERY excited to start the book of Devarim with Nehemia, Keith and the other gentlemen. My life transformed after hearing Nehemia’s messages few months ago.

    In one lesson, Nehemia mentioned Devarim 13 which made me examine this passage in its context. Which amongst other things lead to my conversion to Kararite Judaism. I have been in the book of Devarim ever since.

    Your ministry is a blessing to me. I am super excited to follow your teachings here. I have been studying this book for a few months and feel super blessed that I can chime in on the discussion with you all. I have a few questions/comments I would like to bounce of you guys for my learning and hopefully the group.

    You addressed my first question in the audio but I still need clarification in regards to the phrase that I see in English translations as “today” or “this day”.

    For example Moses discusses the past history of the Yisraelites. How YHVH was upset with the initial group. Getting to the point, this book appears to have an emphasis on the instructions written here. “Today I set before life and death”. I interpret it like he is saying “these are things you need to do that I’m telling you right now”.

    Examples:
    Dev 4:8,4:26,4:40,5:1,6:6, 7:11,8:1,10:13,11:8 there are more but hopefully you see what I’m asking?

    In my reading it seems as there is a distinction between what happens before and the specific day he is preaching these words to Yisrael. They received water from the rocks and quails and all that stopped when they got into the land, correct?

    To me, Moses seems to be saying , pay specific instructions to what I’m telling you today. Is that inaccurate ? Could you help me understand if it is or is not? Thanks

    • There are things in Deuteronomy that give us instructions for the future generations, in contrast to commandments for specific situations. For example, the details of the Passover sacrifice in Egypt were not the same as the Passover sacrifice in the future in Deuteronomy 16. Specifically, in Egypt it had to brought wherever you lived, but in the future generations in Dt 16, it had to be brought in the chosen place only. Leviticus 17 vs. Deuteronomy 12 is another example of the reality of the desert vs. the commandment for the future generations.

  9. Father God directed me to this page thru another of your subscribers not one hour after i had been studying about what the significance of pearls and rebuilding the spiritual walls of my city like Nehemiah had in common!!! Praise Yahweh and His son Yeshua ha Mashiach!!!!! BLESSINGS, BLESSINGS, BLESSINGS TO YOU!!!!!!!

  10. Greetings from Norway!
    Love the Torah Pearls, you challenge and make me think, I have come to learn that with out the Torah, there is nothing. Keep up the good work guys!

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